Volunteer of the Month: Sigurd Angell Bergh

Text: Emilie Sofie Eilertsen
Photo: Leonie Richarz/NTNUI Blits, Thomas Meinicke/NTNUI, private

Photo: Thomas Meinicke/NTNUI

Sigurd currently serves on the board of the NTNUI Diving Group as the cellar manager. During the summer, he has dedicated a significant portion of his free time to building a new hot tub (on a trailer) after the old one gave out. This hot tub will benefit the diving group and others who wish to rent it for various enjoyable events. In addition to this, for many years, he has done an immense amount for the diving group. He works tirelessly to ensure that the subgroup is not only a place for divers/freedivers/underwater rugby players to practice their sport but also a vibrant social hub. He assists with all sorts of tinkering and fixing that the group needs, whether it’s gifts for the friendship club in Helsinki, stencils for equipment labeling, organizing parties after general meetings, and much more—he handles it. He lives and breathes pressurized air and the NTNUI Diving Group, and he truly deserves some recognition!

Nora S. Oma, Deputy Chair/UWR-responsible in NTNUI Diving Group
Facts about Sigurd

• Name: Sigurd Angell Bergh
• Age: 23
• Group: Diving Group
• Years in NTNUI: 6 years now
• Position: Diving Group from day one
• Studies: Master’s degree in Physical Planning

Hello Sigurd! Tell me a bit about yourself. Who are you really, and what are your passions in life?
I’m from Haugesund and was born and raised on the west coast. I obtained my diving certification on the day I turned 12. I’m now in my fifth year of studies, pursuing a master’s degree in physical planning at NTNU. I also have a bachelor’s degree in water and wastewater engineering and work a lot in that field. As you can probably tell, I’m very involved with water in general. I grew up in an environment with a lot of diving and organizational work, and my entire family has always been very passionate about both diving and athletics.

How did you end up in NTNUI and Trondheim then?
One of the main reasons I chose to move and apply to Trondheim is the diving group and the offerings there. NTNU is, of course, very good as well, but I knew many people from underwater rugby beforehand and knew that there were good people and a great crowd. I’ve been involved with the diving group from day 1, quite literally, since I applied to join it on Værnesekspressen when I moved here.

Yes, because that’s one of the offerings you have in the Diving Group?
Yes, we have three subgroups, consisting of the Diving Group, Underwater Rugby, and Freediving. Additionally, we have a social group, which I am mostly involved with these days. I serve as the Kjellersjef (cellar manager) in the board, responsible for the social aspect. However, I have been involved in all three subgroups.

What role do you have now?
I have mainly been in the Diving Group at NTNUI in various roles but have also been involved in working on matters related to swimming pool development, which I find very interesting.

But why do you engage so much in volunteering? Is it natural for you to be engaged?
Yes, it is. I know how much volunteers and enthusiasts matter for sports. It’s not necessarily the case that everything can be done for free, or that it’s taken for granted that it will be done, and someone has to do it. It’s something I have a lot of fun doing, and I do a lot of different things because of it. I’m involved in everything from costume design to building a new hot tub, organizing trips both in Norway and with our Finnish sister club, and much more. It’s also fun to be politically engaged on behalf of NTNUI and the Diving Group. I’ve, for instance, written an article in the newspaper about swimming pool appropriations and worked quite a bit on that. I find it rewarding to have roles, and it’s fun when you see the results of it.

It can easily become that you engage in a lot and take on many roles, but it seems like you really enjoy it?
It’s just a lot of fun. I get to do so many different things, and when you see that it direct results in the group members enjoying themselves and becoming better in their roles, it’s very rewarding.

SIgurd in the 17th of May parade with the Diving group.
Photo: Leonie Richarz/NTNUI Blits

What would you say is the coolest thing you’ve worked on in NTNUI?
Oh, that’s a good question! There are two things I find it very enjoyable to work on. The first one is the hot tub project that I’m leading. It’s a long-term project, but it’s starting to take shape. The swimming pool issue is something I’m very passionate about. Both through the article I wrote and also the user meeting with the sports council about the hall design and what was important there. It ended up with the diving group almost taking over that meeting and presenting suggestions for how to design the swimming pool area considering special groups like those involved in diving, underwater rugby, and synchronized swimming. It’s a project that, if well implemented, can have positive consequences for the city and users of the swimming pool for the next 60-70 years.

What’s the story behind the hot tub then? There have been rumors that the Diving Group has used and enjoyed it before.
It started with a trip to Finland where they had taken a trash bin, filled it with water, and called it a hot tub. But eventually, more people found that it’s also a lot of fun during trips, so they built pallet hot tubs on several occasions, using pallets and tarpaulin. When it became very popular, they bought a trailer, and I think they just built a pallet hot tub on top of that, but then it was easy to bring it along on trips. Now, we’re building a proper hot tub with an aluminum frame covered with insulation. We’ll then cast fiberglass over it to make it really solid and have a 28 kW pump, so it’ll be nice and warm. There are probably a few hundred work hours left, but many people are helping, so we’ll manage. I’ve worked on it for about 250 hours so far.

Wow, so there might be quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears behind that hot tub?
A LOT. We’re also cutting XPS boards, which are pressure-resistant insulation. The sound of cutting through hundreds of meters, like styrofoam against styrofoam, is constant and quite awful, hahaha.

I’d like to ask you some fun questions at the end, just for fun. Are you in?
Yes, that’s great fun, so go ahead!

If you were stuck in an elevator with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I think Dag Sørås. He’s very funny and has a dark humor that you might need in an elevator. A little gallows humor is fun.

Rowing tights or devil’s hat?
Oh, that was a fun question, but I think I have to go with the devil’s hat because I’m so used to wearing a speedo because of underwater rugby, so it would be nice to have a head covering. Plus, we do a lot of boating in the Diving Group.

The suits Sigurd has designed for the Diving Group.
Photo: Private

Is there something you’d like to say right at the end about having roles since you seem quite reflective about this?
Having roles in volunteer work costs a lot, but it also gives back a lot more. Especially when it comes to working with others and helping them become better at what they do, and that’s very important. It’s not everything you need to financially benefit from, but it makes life really nice. You might risk burning out, so it’s important to remember that what you’re doing is voluntary work, and you don’t have to work yourself to death. The most important thing is the sport and that it’s fun to be involved with, as it’s easy to get absorbed in the roles. Sometimes you probably need to be more selfish and focus on what’s fun, not always having to take responsibility

The volunteer of the month is a regular column created by the promo team in collaboration with the photographers in NTNUI Blits. Would you like to nominate someone for the firebrand of the month? Send to blits-promo@ntnui.no